Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Runoff for SC GOP gubernatorial race; Rep. Smith wins Dem primary

Runoff for SC GOP gubernatorial race; Rep. Smith wins Dem primary

Incumbent Republican Congressman Mark Sanford lost in the SC primary race to challenger Katie Arrington on Tuesday, after President Trump made an election-day social media move to hit out at Sanford and endorse Arrington in the race.

Arrington is a state representative.

The Post and Courier reports Sanford has conceded the race.

Sanford took his loss in stride during his first ever concession speech in Mount Pleasant late Tuesday night. Tweeting from the plane bringing him home from Singapore, he declared Sanford "very unhelpful" in advancing his agenda.

"He is MIA and nothing but trouble", Trump tweeted. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., mocked his colleagues for being afraid to "poke the bear" and cross the president by voting on an amendment to grant Congress more authority over tariffs. Local, state and national Democrats have called on him to drop out of the race in the deep-red district and say they won't support him if he wins.

Sanford is a second U.S. House member from the South attacked by a challenger for criticizing Trump.

In the most recent count I've seen, Arrington is at 50.5 percent, only about 300 votes clear of a run-off (if my math is correct).

All three incumbents faced accusation of being insufficiently supportive of the president.

But Arrington has hammered Sanford for his criticism of President Donald Trump, and she enough GOP voters in the district may agree with her. Democrat Hillary Clinton carried it over Trump by 10 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.

In another big Virginia race, Republican Corey Stewart - once a state chairman to Trump's presidential campaign who was sacked for protesting the Republican National Committee - won the Republican primary to face Democratic Sen.

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She also tried to tap into longtime uneasiness with the incumbent, who's been a familiar name to Lowcountry voters. Smith has served in the state Legislature for 22 years.

The congressman had been a rising star in the GOP in 2009 when his aides told reporters he was missing because he was hiking the Appalachian Trail - only for him to get caught instead returning from Argentina, where he had been visiting his mistress.

Sanford said Tuesday night that "I stand by every one of those decisions to disagree with the president".

First they must settle a seven-way primary field led by Attorney General Janet Mills and former state House Speaker Mark Eves. She simultaneously hit the Freedom Caucus member for not securing more federal funding for infrastructure for the district and for not being a real fiscal conservative.

Trump - flying back from Singapore on Air Force One - attacked Mark Sanford, a South Carolina Republican, urging voters to support his rival.

The drama evaporated from both races after direct intervention from Trump and his political team to convince Cramer - who'd already publicly said he wouldn't run - to change his mind and launch a campaign in February.

Trump congratulated Arrington in a tweet early Wednesday upon his return to Washington from meetings in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"I would argue that the President is at least in partially - again not in any way totally, but partially to blame for demons that have been unleashed", Sanford said in a June 2017 interview with MSNBC.

Sanford has been an outspoken critic of Trump. He's called out the president for his rhetoric, saying he was "partially to blame" for the kind of incivility that led to the shooting at the GOP congressional baseball team's practice past year.

And in suburban Richmond's Seventh District, former Central Intelligence Agency officer Abigail Spanberger was declared the victor for the Democratic nomination, setting the stage for a fall campaign against GOP Representative David Brat.

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